In touch with … Claire Baldwin

In the latest Meet the Minds presentation, Dr Claire Baldwin will discuss her work to get hospital patients up and moving. We ask how her first job helped shape her career and how a weekly ballet class keeps her balanced.

What is your role and what does your work focus on?

I’m a Senior Lecturer and the Placement Education Coordinator for Physiotherapy, and I’m also a member of the Caring Futures Institute within the College of Nursing and Health Sciences

What journey brought you to this point in your career?

After graduating with a Bachelor of Physiotherapy (First Class Honours), I started my career on acute care wards in the public health system. It was a great opportunity that helped me develop particular expertise in working with people who may be considered higher risk – older adults, those in recovery from major surgery, people with respiratory or cardiac conditions and, most importantly, anyone who is in an Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

That experience was the reason I completed my PhD at Flinders University on the respiratory and peripheral muscle dysfunction that can occur as a result of critical illness. While doing my PhD, it was clear that ICU survivors aren’t the only ones at risk and suffering from de-conditioning as a result of illness or hospitalisation.

The research that I lead has expanded to look at broader issues of inactivity and immobility during hospitalisation. A current project is developing a world-first evidence-based guideline to help older adults sit less and move more when they are acutely hospitalised.

I’ve always tried to juggle working in a clinical setting alongside my academic work to achieve excellence in both teaching and research. It helps keep me motivated to ensure what I’m teaching and researching makes a difference in people’s lives.

What is something you are most proud of?

What makes me incredibly proud is that when someone I’m working with, whether it be a student or a colleague, has that moment when their hard work finally pays off. Along with pride, there’s a great feeling of success and satisfaction.

What does a normal day look like for you?

I don’t think I could say I have a ‘normal day’ – every day is different. You might find me in the classroom and working with Master of Physiotherapy students, or I could be meeting and working on staff/student collaborative research projects or participating in college or University activities. I could be in my office administering and running the research projects I lead, or visiting students on placement and our amazing clinical partners. Or I might be just making the magic of teaching and research happen seamlessly.

How do you like to relax or spend your spare time?

I like to keep active and invest in my future well-being. I keep active habits and love attending my weekly ballet class, which is always lots of fun and a real challenge.

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